Batgirl #28 – Mairghread Scott, Writer; Paul Pelletier, Penciller; Norm Rapmund, Inker; Jordie Bellaire, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: Loved It
Ray: Mairghread Scott’s Batgirl run continues to be one of the most intriguing new runs in DC Comics at the moment, but it almost feels like two runs in one. One of them is a fascinating story about what Barbara Gordon does as her body and mind threaten to betray her, forcing her to take stock of her life and sort out some issues she and her family still have from her shooting. The other focuses on the masked villain Grotesque, but it’s also picking up from the suddenly aborted Nightwing run by Ben Percy. Behind Grotesque is another villain – the sinister cyber-villain Wyrm. As the issue kicks off, Batgirl is caught over the body of the villain formerly known as Grotesque, and the police – led by the hard-nosed Detective Evan Douglas – instantly suspect her as the killer. She escapes, and Douglas insists she’s the chief suspect – but an aside reveals he’s actually Grotesque, working on behalf of Wyrm who tempts him with a cyber-world that contains a woman he seems desperate to see again.
After her escape from the police, Barbara returns home – only to be caught by her father, who thinks she’s sneaking out for unknown purposes while she’s supposed to be resting. What ensues is a really well-done conversation between them about the open wounds that have been left since Barbara was shot by the Joker. While Barbara quickly picked herself up and fought to prove that she could still do anything she wanted, her father has been haunted by guilt ever since. Barbara knows she can handle whatever comes next, but Jim doesn’t seem to be there yet. I could quibble about the fact that Jim still doesn’t know his daughter is Batgirl – which doesn’t make me think much of his skills as a detective – but this is the most genuine scene I’ve seen in this run so far. Barbara eventually agrees to take it easy and Jim heads out to a fundraiser – that’s being targeted from within by Grotesque, attending as Detective Douglas. This run does a really good job of balancing the mundane and human with the comic book action.
Corrina: I have to get this gush out of the way: I freakin’ loved this issue.
I’m a sucker for the Jim and Babs father/daughter relationship and never has it felt so real as it does in Batgirl #28. Babs and Jim have each made mistakes in dealing with each other but what separates this talk from so many emotional talks in comics is that they’re both right and they’re both wrong. Neither is a perfect person, they love each other, and they’re trying desperately to understand each other. Jim is overprotective but likely because he’s lost so much and knows, deep down, that Babs’ safety is out of his control. Babs pushed herself too hard but likely because she refuses to compromise her independence and knows, deep down, that her being Batgirl would terrify her father.
It’s sweet and heartbreaking to read at the same time.
Oh, and Grotesque is in the story too, I guess.
I kid. I like the way how it’s immediately revealed that the plot point of the police fingering Batgirl for murder is dependent upon a corrupt cop, the villain himself. And, yet, there are hints Det. Douglas is desperate for whatever fix given him by being Wyrm’s flunky. Perhaps this woman is someone he tried to protect and couldn’t?
I suspect there will be echoes of Jim’s guilt about Babs’ injury in whatever haunts Douglas and pushes him over the edge. I love that kind of thematic mirrors
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.